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Student Spotlight: Remas Bashanfar

Remas Bashanfar, a freshman majoring in Material Sciences and Engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles, participated in the virtual Black Wings Hackathon held February 5-7, 2021. Hosted by Rewriting the Code and with a theme of, “Social Good,” the Event provided an opportunity for undergraduate women in STEM to collaborate on technical projects that matter to them and to society. The Hackathon also included professional development workshops, enhancing the experience for attendees through networking opportunities with like-minded peers and professionals in STEM fields. Female mentors from Microsoft, Google, Intuit, and Booz Allen Hamilton were also involved to help guide each group in brainstorming project ideas.

Remas’ group created a web platform to monitor people’s mental health that would provide personalized advice and tips to the users. The platform also had the capacity to save data in a calendar so that users could reflect on their daily inputs and find patterns in assessing their mental health.

Remas appreciated the chance to learn about topics outside of her major and the introduction to coding using JavaScript, HTML, PHP, Firebase, and Github. She also noted, “It was such an awesome experience as I got to work with people from different countries, self-learned new technologies, and implemented our plans in a short period of time.” Remas looks forward to participating in more hackathons in the future, noting that their virtual format makes them convenient supplemental learning and networking opportunities.

Remas’ KGSP advisor Cynthia Cox further explained that, “Remas has benefited from being in the KGSP by taking advantage of the resources available to her. As a freshman, it is particularly impressive that she has taken initiative to apply for so many different enrichment opportunities. By becoming a member of the Rewriting the Code community, Remas can now benefit from future educational programming, industry exploration, networking, and the potential for a summer internship or full-time job with one of Rewriting the Code’s partner organizations." 


KGSP students represent the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s future scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and thought-leaders. As both individuals and as a community, they reflect the KAUST mission of driving scientific discovery through excellence in education and cutting-edge research, and share a commitment to fostering innovation, economic development, and social prosperity throughout the Kingdom and the world.  


Selection to the KGSP is extremely competitive, and currently by invitation only. Successful applicants are Saudi Arabian students in their final year of high school who demonstrate impressive academic credentials within STEM fields, meaningful extra-curricular achievements, and who share the KAUST ethos of continuous discovery.  Learn more here.


The KGSP is administered by the Office of Strategic National Advancement at KAUST, under the direction of Vice President & Senior Associate to the President, Dr. Najah Ashry. Strategic National Advancement directs the university's strategy to serve Saudi Arabia's transformational priorities: Through initiatives in young talent and Saudi workforce development, social responsibility, and national engagement, the Office contributes to a thriving innovation ecosystem by building knowledge capacity, creating opportunities, and strengthening impact.